August 19, 2008


Could the Redeem Team beat the Dream Team? (JOE POSNANSKI, 8/19/08, The Kansas City Star)

[T]hat leads to the second argument for Redeem Team: They are young. They are hungry. The players are ascending. By the time Dream Team played in 1992, Larry Bird was 35 and retired from the NBA. Magic Johnson was almost 33 and had not played an NBA game for more than a year. There was only one guy on Dream Team who was younger than 25, and that was Christian Laettner, who was a college guy brought along to sit on the bench and enjoy the experience.

This year’s team has six players younger than 25, including the two big men (Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh) who have been overpowering. Paul is 23 and already one of the best players in the world. And, of course, James is only 23, too.

So you could certainly argue — and people here are arguing — that because the players are younger, because the players still have a lot to prove, Redeem Team plays with a higher energy level than the Dream Team, Redeem Team plays much fiercer defense, Redeem Team has a sense of purpose that Dream Team didn’t need.

It’s a fascinating argument. Personally, I think Dream Team would beat Redeem Team for a couple of reasons. First, I think they had more ways to beat you. Redeem Team is a terrific team, I’ve really been blown away by how hard they play, but they don’t have much shooting and they’re not at their best when slowed down. They beat teams with intensity and pressure and defense and, again, that sense of purpose.

Dream Team, with 10 of the best players of all time, brought more variety. Take Magic’s leadership, Bird’s presence, Barkley’s power, David Robinson’s dominance around the basket, Chris Mullen’s shooting, John Stockton’s passing to Karl Malone ... that team could beat you just about every way possible.

The second reason I think Dream Team would win, the big reason, is, of course, Michael Jordan. He was in his prime in 1992 — the best basketball player who ever lived, I think. He was more than great, too; he willed his teams to championships. Whatever it took ... he would score, he would rebound, he would shut people down, he would trash talk, he would take over.

...put all the same players on the two teams but play 7 games with MJ on the Dream Team and 7 with him on the Redeem Team (and Kobe on the Dream Team) and the Jordan led team wins both series.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at August 19, 2008 1:02 PM
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